Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Martin reflects/neck guards/Lambert and Frey hope to create more magic at MC.

Josh Morrissey and teammates wearing neck guards
  • Cole Martin was taking it all in. The 21 year-old defenceman was smelling the roses one final time as the Kelowna Rockets practiced for the final time this morning at Prospera Place. The WHL Champions will leave on a charter tomorrow morning for the 2015 Master Card Memorial Cup in Quebec City. It was the last time the Arlington, Texas resident will skate in Kelowna. In a week and half, Martin's time in the Western Hockey League will be over. Martin spent four great seasons in Kelowna and transformed into a player that only Rockets fans truly appreciated. Showing his maturity, Martin took in every moment in his final season of junior hockey and will leave with no regrets. Martin can go out his way. A WHL Champion and potentially a Memorial Cup Champion. Former team-mates Carter Rigby and Colton Heffley, who would love to be in Martin's skates, were not afforded the same luxury. 
  • It was an upbeat practice at Prospera Place this morning as the coaches kept the players sharp heading into the biggest tournament of their lives. The pace was quick. The smiles were evident and the mood seems lite with the Western Hockey League Champions. But don't be fooled into thinking the 'Angry Ogopogo's' are not a focused bunch. When the puck drops Friday night at the Colisee, look for the Western representative to be ready to prove that they are worthy champions. They have a massive goal in front of them. The 2015 Kelowna Rockets will try to win the Memorial Cup in the province of Quebec for the first time since the 1994 Kamloops Blazers accomplished the feat. The 1994 Blazers included former Kelowna Rockets head coach Ryan Huska.
  • The one thing that stood out for me at practice today was the neck guards the players were wearing. It is mandatory equipment at the Memorial Cup. I spoke to defenceman Josh Morrissey about them (pictured right) and the 20 year-old says they don't bother him. "We had to wear them at the World Juniors the last couple of years so it is no big deal to me. The last time we wore them full time was in our last year in midget. We have worn them all this week so we are used to them".
  • Watch Josh Morrissey's active stick. Is anyone better at defending with it than the Winnipeg Jets 1st round pick. 
  • Head Coach Dan Lambert is looking forward to returning to Quebec City, the starting point of his NHL career. Lambert made his Quebec Nordiques debut in the final home game at the Colisee in 1991, the last game that Guy Lafleur played in the NHL. Oddly enough, Lambert's first NHL game came against the Montreal Canadiens, the team Lafleur was with for 14 seasons.
  • Kelowna Rockets Director of Player Personnel Lorne Frey will be in Quebec City for the Memorial Cup. Frey was unsure if he would attend until Lambert personally asked Frey to be there. Frey was an assistant coach to Lambert when the two were part of the Swift Current Broncos organization in 1989, the year they won the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon. Now the two are attempting to win the Cup as members of the coaching/management staff. 
  • I will be rooming in Quebec City with fellow media colleague Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier. If everything goes according to plan, we will be spending the next 12 days with one another. Wish us luck that we don't tear each other's eyes out at tournaments end.  
  • The Rockets are making their fifth appearance at the Memorial Cup, with three of them played in the province of Quebec. At the 2003 tournament, oddly enough in Quebec City, the team had a record of 1 and 3 and were 2 and 2 at the 2009 Memorial Cup in Rimouski. Add those two tournament records together and the Rockets are 3 and 5 in eight games in Province de Quebec.
  • The French media attending the tournament in Quebec City are going to love Lambert. How many times do you have a French speaking coach from the Western Hockey League representative? At the 2009 tournament in Rimouski, the only Rockets representative with a good grasp of the language was forward Spencer Main. Main was often seen doing interviews with French language television.

No comments: